Tag Archives: harriet harman

International Women’s Day: Could there ever be a Lib Dem Jess Phillips?

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Tim Farron writes to Harriet Harman asking her to oppose Welfare Bill

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has written to Labour’s interim leader Harriet Harman to ask her to ensure that her party opposes the Government’s Welfare Bill.

Here is the text of his letter:

Dear Harriet
The Conservative Government last night brought forward plans for £12bn of cuts to welfare that will directly impact millions of people across the country including the poorest families in our constituencies.

The Conservatives do not need to make these cuts, especially at the same time as giving tax breaks to millionaires.

The people who will be hit by these changes need someone to give them a voice in Parliament and fight their corner, and last night Labour failed to stand up for them.

You have said that you do not want to oppose absolutely every saving that the Government suggests, but these cuts will hurt the poorest in our communities.

Cuts to employment support allowance, lowering the benefit cap and slashing tax credits for those in low paid work are not policies that any progressive should support.

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LBC Women’s Debate: Lynne Featherstone gets Harriet Harman to admit she’s “happy” with Rachel Reeves’ plans to be tougher than Tories on benefits claimants

Last night’s 90 minute LBC women’s debate was, on the whole, well-mannered, informative and a billion times better than anything Michael Fallon had had to say.

Lynne Featherstone was our representative,  Nicky Morgan represented the Tories, Diane James UKIP and Harriet Harman was there for Labour.

I liked the 5 minute “Ask me Anything” segments where each candidate had to ask questions of the others. If I’m going to criticise, some of the questions were too long. If you are going to ask an awkward question, make it brief and make your opponent squirm for longer. Harriet Harman did keep her question brief, though – she asked Lynne which thing that Labour did in government did she like most and which thing she’d voted for in the Coalition had made her feel most uncomfortable. Lynne praised Labour’s Equality Act and said the Bedroom Tax was the most difficult thing. She did remind Harriet that it was Labour who had introduced the principle into the benefit system. She added that Liberal Democrats had had to hold their nose and vote for things that they didn’t like, but we’d always made them better than they would have been.

When the tables were reversed, Lynne asked Harriet whether she agreed with Rachel Reeves’ comments  that Labour would be tougher than the Tories on benefits claimants. Iain Dale emphasised Lynne’s point by saying to Harman that she must have winced at that. But when reminded of Reeves’ comments, she said

If that’s what she said, I’m happy to go along with that. She’s absolutely excellent and she sees things as I do.

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PMQs: Nick Clegg comes back from Cornwall

clegg on leveson 2I stopped doing PMQ write-ups some time ago. They were getting so repetitive and mind-numbingly pointless that I was losing the will to live.

Today’s exchange between Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman was typical of the genre. Harriet Harman made some very good prepared points, and Nick Clegg blasted away on Labour’s record and mentioned some good bits from this government’s record. There was a lot huing and crying and then everyone went to lunch.

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Nick Clegg at PMQs, with added Elvis

Clegg_PMQsNick was standing in for David Cameron, who was visiting Israel, at Prime Minister’s Questions today. The half hour was, of course, punctuated with the usual pantomime and point-scoring, but it seemed a lot more relaxed and good humoured than it usually is. Cameron acts sometimes like the event is beneath him. Nick just took all the jibes, responded with a fair bit of patience and humour and even seemed amused by some of them. The Labour spin doctors must have been up all night thinking of Elvis puns after we were beaten by the Bus Pass Elvis party in a council by-election in Clifton in Nottingham last week. The best they could manage was “You ain’t nothing but a lap dog.” You could see Nick trying not to laugh but he didn’t quite manage it as he responded:

At least we are not the lapdog of the bankers, which is what Labour was in office. At least we did not crash the British economy. At least we did not cost every household £3,000. At least we did not preside over an increase in relative poverty. At least we did not preside over an increase in youth unemployment. We are creating the stronger economy and fairer society that the Labour party failed to create.

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Danny Alexander introduces Ginger Rodent beer to the Commons bar

If there is one issue that could unite Social Liberal Forum co-chair Gareth Epps and Danny Alexander, it’s beer. Gareth is a huge supporter of the Fair Deal for your local campaign, as any self-respecting CAMRA member should be. Danny is also a huge supporter of the micro breweries in his constituency. I spent a very pleasant evening sampling Loch Ness Brewery’s wares with his staff last Summer and hope to do the same next month.

It was the Cairngorm Brewery, though, who responded to Harriet Harman’s insult of Danny Alexander by producing a Ginger Rodent beer.

Tonight, that …

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Nick Clegg: “Let Leveson speak”

The Leveson Report on the culture, practice and ethics of the press will be published today at 1:30pm.

Speaking to the BBC this morning Nick Clegg said,

I think we should leave Lord Leveson to speak for himself. But my views on this subject are well known.

I believe in a vigorous free press that holds the powerful to account and isn’t subject to political interference. But a free press does not and cannot mean a press that is free to bully innocent people, or free to abuse grieving families.

I hope when Lord Justice Leveson gives his full statement later today, we will

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarOliver Craven 22nd Aug - 12:20am
    @Michael Yes personalisation exists, but not using technology, more by the teacher knowing their students.
  • User AvatarFrances Alexander 21st Aug - 11:47pm
    I am reminded of this ... Sound the call for freedom boys, and sound it far and wide, March along to victory for God is...
  • User AvatarCarl Gardner 21st Aug - 11:28pm
    Thomas, an all-around tax hike IS A TOUGH DECISION that all parties never attempt to do Fair enough. I back you on higher taxes. Now...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 21st Aug - 11:21pm
    @ Katharine, All I was suggesting is that you look at a few graphs like this. And I agree that it might not be immediately...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Aug - 11:19pm
    @ Katharine From my research your comments on EU/UK growth comparisons are correct. Also, a speech which I know you'll enjoy - the contents apply...
  • User Avatarexpats 21st Aug - 11:18pm
    Peter Martin 21st Aug '17 - 6:41pm....I’m not quite sure when this leaflet was produced but Nick Clegg does look very youthful. It would have...